Day 39

5.03: I can’t imagine a book more likely to move me to self-harm than the memoirs of Morissey. Brutal self-harm at that: something along the lines of gargling with Domestos and climbing into a spin drier. While carrying scissors.

I’m fond of The Smiths – though too young to have ever been a fan; I was eight when they split – and I have to admit the suffering, self-aggrandising Bono of Thatcher’s Britain knows how to write a lyric. “And do you think you’ve made the right decision this time.” What a hell of a chorus that is.

But his memoirs. Surely to god they ought to come packaged in a leaden casket, encircled in concrete, and loaded into to a drawn catapult waiting to twang them into next Sunday.

Having said that. I can appreciate Lee Brackstone (of Faber & Faber)’s slightly oddball, obsessive appeal for Morissey to place the dank and noisome manuscript with his company. Off he goes:

“Our shelves groan and bulge and spill over under the weight of Ezra, Larkin, Hughes and Heaney. And that’s just the surface; deep as it may seem. We feel very strongly that you belong in this company. To me (and to many of my colleagues) you are already in this company. It would be the fulfilment of my most pressing and persistent publishing dream to see that ‘ff’ sewn into the spine of your Life.”

This, I like. This to me conjures images of of teenage girls kissing their Boy George posters each night before bed. (When I was at school I overheard an older girl on a bus telling her friends about how she used to do exactly that – Lee Brackstone’s hallelujah to Salford’s Jesus brought the memory flooding back). The man’s a fan, and all that’s happened is he’s strayed a little to the bananas side of love for the guy he idolises. We’ve all of us been there; and anyone who hasn’t should be reading this wishing they had.

But there’s no need to get evangelical about it. Waiting to find out which publishing house is actually going to take and unleash Morissey’s autobiography is going to be like wondering where Al Qaeda’s next going to strike. The invidious rumours are almost worse than the explosions. Honestly, Lee. Just have a sit down, help yourself to a Murray Mint, and publish something else. Maybe something by these guys.

6.54: Cesare Pavese is supposed to have said, “The only joy in the world is to begin.” Presumably he knew, too, how difficult it is, and he ended up swallowing a hatful of barbiturates in Turin hotel. Luckily, I’m not suicidal this morning just struggling with beginnings. Normally, I look forward the change of scenery you get with a new chapter, but sometimes they don’t fly as briskly out of the traps as they might. In fact, this one seems to have overeaten before the race, and is, at the moment, curled up in the traps and having a restorative snooze. Treats will be needed to coax it into motion tomorrow.

~ by David Thorley on February 2, 2010.

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